What Is Skin Cycling And Is It Right For You?

Whilst there have been many skincare trends recently, skin cycling has received a considerable amount of attention and has the potential to provide a more gentle, yet effective treatment system.

Over the past few years, skincare routines have changed on such a rapid basis that there are questions about whether people stick with one particular treatment long enough to see its effects.

A lot of this was a change in priorities surrounding skincare, given that people were seeing each other through webcam screens a lot more, and this increased use of skincare products led to a backlash known as “skinimalism”.

This prioritised only using basic natural skincare products that cared for the skin and reduce irritation, rather than increasing elaborate routines using up to a dozen different products layered on top of each other.

Skin cycling has been claimed to be the best middle ground for people who need to use more intense products but without the hassle, dryness and irritation, but does it live up to the hype?


How Skin Cycling Works

Basically, skin cycling works on a four-night cycle, where different products are introduced to a night-care routine on the first two nights before the third and fourth are used as “rest days” when only gentle moisturisers and lotions are used.

A typical skin-cycling routine will work as follows:

  • Night One: Adding a natural, leave-on exfoliating product after cleansing, which will help to remove dirt and dead skin, encouraging new skin growth.
  • Night Two: Applying a retinoid (a vitamin A compound), which is designed to help reduce signs of ageing, stimulate collagen and help provide a youthful glow. Make sure to use a hydrating cream in sensitive spots first.
  • Nights Three And Four: Resting and recovering by using moisturisers and nourishing skincare products.

People who have tried it report that their skin is clearer, more radiant and with a calmer and more even complexion, helping to maximise the effects of ingredients without simply using a lot of them.

There have been other, similar approaches such as skin switching where there are on-weeks and off-weeks for certain active ingredients, but they work in a very similar way to skin cycling.


Who Is It Best For?

Several dermatologists who have tried four-day skin cycling or a similar timetable have found that it works as a general evening routine, with the reduction in ingredients being very beneficial for night care.

However, given that it does rely on quite strong actives, it may not be the best routine for everyone. If you are prone to blemishes, you may still be able to do the routine, but it would require using the retinoid at night and liquid exfoliants in the morning.

For people with sensitive skin, it can be beneficial as you are only using one active ingredient at a time, but it is still very important not to overload your skin with harsh active ingredients, which may mean avoiding using a liquid exfoliant and changing to a three-day cycle.

It is an adaptable approach, so if the intense four-day cycle is not for you, a longer cycle with a full week of rest between actives could work for you.

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